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James Langmuir

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James Langmuir (1850-1886)


1887 Obituary [1]

JAMES LANGMUIR was born in Paisley in the year 1850, and received his education in that town.

At the age of sixteen he was articled to Mr. W. R. Copland, M.Inst.C.E., in whose service he acquired much experience in carrying out water- and drainage works during an apprenticeship of five years.

At the close of his apprenticeship, Mr. Copland appointed him Resident Engineer of the Callander Waterworks, which were carried out to the satisfaction of all concerned, and to the great advantage of the Burgh.

A short time after these works were completed, Mr. Langmuir received an appointment on the engineering staff of the Glasgow Corporation Water Commissioners under Mr. James M. Gale, M.Inst.C.E., and he remained in that service up till his death, in November, 1886. He was very much respected by the Chief Engineer, and was gradually promoted in the service. Then it was resolved, about a year ago, to proceed with the works for increasing the supply of water to Glasgow, Mr. Gale selected Mr. Langmuir for the post of Resident Engineer. He removed to Milngavie so as to be near the scene of his labours, and set to work full of hope. The first contract was for part of the duplicate tunnel between Loch Katrine and the service-reservoirs near Milngavie. The second was for the Craigmaddie Service Reservoir, the embankment of which extends to about 1,500 yards in length, with a maximum height of over 100 feet. For some time Mr. Langmuir had only the first contract to deal with. The second brought a considerable increase of work, and more than a corresponding amount of responsibility.

It does not seem to have occurred to any one that his mind was giving way under the strain, although, after his death, several of his friends recalled peculiarities in his conduct which did not attract special notice at the time. On the morning of his death, on the 17th of November, 1886, before entering the breakfast room he was informed that one of his men wished to see him, and he sent a message to the man to wait for a few minutes. He then entered the room which he used as an office, and closed the door behind him. In a few seconds the report of firearms was heard. On investigation it was found that he had shot himself. Mr. Langmuir commended himself to all with whom he came in contact by his modest estimate of himself. His manner was genial and pleasant, and those who knew him best will most regret his untimely end.

He was elected an Associate Member on the 5th of May, 1885.


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